Sunshine FM

Success story - 104.9 Sunshine FM uses mobile app to grow audience engagement

Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, 16th June 2017
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104.9 Sunshine FM found much success in their mobile app. This is their story.

"Just over 12 months ago Sunshine FM solicited a local business to develop an app and strategy that enables us to further engage with our community. We were lucky enough to find a local digital marketing business with vast experience working in the radio industry and were able to provide valuable insight into integrating a mobile app with our station."

"The Sunshine FM App is free for the community to download from their iTunes or GooglePlay App Stores. Mobile Apps are essentially a website with a number of distinct advantages. Apps are designed to be specifically used on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Our listeners have proven that contrary to popular belief mobile apps are not just for younger people. Our audience is predominantly 45+ listening to music from 1960s to 1990s. The app has had over 65,000 sessions since launch and we expect this to significantly increase as we add more interactive content."

"We have found our app has added a new dimension to radio. It provides our community with on demand access to our station providing features such as Live Streaming, Event Calendars, links to our announcers, podcasts, station sponsor information plus much more."

"The mobile app also allows us to instantly communicate with the community using the push notification feature. Push notifications are similar to a text messages that are received by our app users on their mobile devices. The push notification feature has been very effective with helping us further promote station activities, promotions, competitions, upcoming events and local emergency information."

Sunshine FM App

"Recently the Sunshine Coast experienced severe weather with ex tropical cyclone Debbie and the app was used extensively to assist Sunshine FM to communicate with the community. During the weather event we were able to keep people up to date with emergency information using the Push Notification feature. We also created a dedicated ‘Update’ Tab on the App, which gave people on demand and up to date information relating to the event such as weather warnings, road closures & maps, power outages, evacuation centres and cancelled events."

"The Sunshine FM App has also assisted in providing funds for the station's operations. By adding this new dimension to radio we have been able to provide better value to our sponsors and a better experience to their customers and our listeners. Fitting all required and desired information in a 30 second sponsorship message can be difficult. Especially when you need the phone number and website. People generally need to hear the message 3 times before they will remember the phone number. Websites can also be difficult to remember as consideration needs to be made for the spelling and pronunciation of the business name as well as the website extensions such as dot com dot au. As it occurs with most stations, we receive a lot of phone calls from listeners asking for details on a sponsor message that they just heard. Usually they are after a phone number or other details that they may have missed in the 30 second message. Now for a small additional charge to our sponsors they get a business listing on the app. A sponsored business listing contains all relevant information about the business including phone numbers, website links, directions etc. Our listeners have been increasingly using this feature to contact our station supporters and this provides our sponsors with a better return on investment."

"Although the Sunshine FM App can be used on iPads and tablets it is most commonly used on smart phones. Society requires on demand information these days and our app assists in supplying this demand. This has proven to be of great benefit for community events and organisations. Recently we created a couple of tabs that contained information for two large events on the Sunshine Coast; the Maleny show and Beachfest. Through these tabs we are able to provide on demand information directly to smartphones about the event. Information such as times, dates, website, entertainment line ups, contact details etc. Push notifications are also used to promote these events and also keep people informed on any event changes or cancellations."

"We are excited with what the App has done for Sunshine FM and look forward to continuing to add new innovative ways to further engage with our community. We are currently working to provide better features for the visually impaired. One of our loyal app users and listeners who is visually impaired has been enjoying our app using special software developed by Apple. We are working with this listener to provide better access to live streaming, current affairs, educational material and other areas of interest via the app."

"Sunshine FM would be more than happy to assist other community stations, through our own app designer and developer, with production of their own app. Contact the CBAA for more information.

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Abstract
Communication is an important element in devising, disseminating and pursuing the organisational goals for all organisations. It involves informing target audiences about frequent, timely and relevant information. Members were consulted with regard their particular needs; as well as staff who are responsive, knowledgeable and passionate about the organisation. Being very different target groups, we found communication approaches wanted by both groups to differ. We surveyed Australian sporting organisations aiming to examine their communication strategies. Not surprisingly, our findings suggest that many organisations think of communication as an after-thought. We argue that sporting organisations are not making the most the latest communication methods, nor progressing with member’s communication desires or what members are actually seeking. Members want electronic, two-way and fast communication tools including electronic newsletter and bulletin boards. This research opens up debate on how community-based media may value-add to the organisational communication mix, and how digital broadcasting can be developed by the community broadcasting sector to enhance the communications capabilities for the not for profit sector.